Take Advantage of Free Credit Reports Jun 25, 2012, 8:49 am By Emily Haleck

Did you know you can get a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union)? 

Accessing your credit report allows you to see all of the information in your credit file maintained by a consumer reporting company that could be provided to a third party, such as a lender. A credit report also includes a record of everyone who has received a consumer report about you from the consumer reporting company within a certain period of time. You’ll also be able to see certain information that is not included in a consumer report about you to a third party, such as the inquiries of companies for pre-approved offers of credit or insurance and account reviews, and any medical account information which is suppressed for third-party users of consumer reports.

One piece of information not included in your free credit report is your credit score. However, you will be given an opportunity to purchase a credit score report from any of the nationwide credit reporting agencies for a fee (usually around $8) after you receive your free annual credit report from them.  

It’s your choice whether you order all three credit reports at the same time or spread your orders throughout the year. The advantage of ordering all three at the same time is that you can compare them, but spreading out your orders (for example, ordering one credit report every four months) allows you to track any changes or new information that may appear on your credit report throughout the year.

The official site to help consumers obtain their free credit report is AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also request your report by calling 1-877-322-8228 or by completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form and then mailing it to:

Annual Credit Report Request Service
P.O. Box 105281
Atlanta, GA 30348-5281

The Federal Trade Commission directs consumers to not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually, but to use one of the methods listed above.

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